The unseen unkown world around us
For the past few months I have been involved in a project in my hometown.Like most people I know we get to see the odd tramp or hobo guy begging money from us in a parking area or these days wherever they can corner you for a second.
Like many people I know either would toss them a few coins and feel I have paid my charitable dues for the day and move on.However a few months ago I was waiting in the parking area at a local shopping center for my partner to do her thing in the mall.One of these casual security guards struck up a conversation whilst asking for a light.He seemed to be about my age and with nothing else to do at the time I engaged in a long and deep conversation with him.
He came across as a very intelligent guy and we spoke a little about local stuff.I then asked him why on earth he was a casual security guard.How did he decide on this as a career of choice as surely he couldn't be doing that well money wise working for tips.From that moment up till today I have been on a journey of note as he opened my eyes to the unseen world around us.
He turned around and pointed to the other guards nearby each of them had a story also.Back to our guy for the moment.He works six days a week seven if he is lucky he says?
The deal is the vest that he wears one of those that look like emergency worker flack jackets he needs to pay for.So he hires the vest from the guy that holds the monopoly for R30.00 a day or about 3$ and this allows him to work his few lanes in the car park for the day working on tips looking after cars and carrying and packing shopping out of trolleys for customers.
He cant work the area if he hasn't paid the monopoly guy upfront in the morning.
After working about 14 hours in thunder wind or rain heat or cold he sets of to a local night shelter again paying about R50.00 or 5$ for the night.There he gets a meal of maize and vegetables and needs to be out again the following morning taking all his worldly belongings with him.
He needs to be in line to collect his vest at 6.00 am however he stands in line from about 4 am otherwise he may miss getting his vest for the day leaving him with no income and possibly then having to spend the night outside in the streets. Fortunately the parking area he works at in our local area there are more nice people than not though on many occasions he gets sworn at by irate motorists that decline his well meant services.
So doing a quick calculation he needs to earn about 100 Rand a day or 10$ just to sleep and work. That is about R3000.00 a month or 300$ and the beds in the shelter are bunk beds so he says he never knows who is going to be sharing his room in the evening made up of a number of these bunk beds.beds. Every time I now visit this shopping area I stop in one of his lanes and continue the conversation.I am spellbound and horrified at what takes place on the streets if he doesn't earn enough money for the day.Tales of abuse from everyone including policeman telling him to move on and not loiter to thugs operating in gangs robbing him of his old shoes I kid you not.The woman have it far worse as sexual abuse is rife on the streets.
The long and short of this write up is I decided to go and do something about it.Not just talk and talk as we people love to do.I decided to walk my talk.
Kindly read more about our efforts here http://crossroadsgeorge.org.za and share our fundraising project far and wide.Its a click of a mouse that could change someones life forever https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/homeless-shelter-in-south-africa-assist/x/2614766.This is the same location we intend running the rehab eventually however for now the focus is on the homeless side.
For those people interested in their fellow man I will be writing regular updates on this problem we are facing in South Africa as it is growing by leaps and bounds and now having the location and the facilities to work from a big milestone has already been made.